As I cross the threshold into the second half century I wanted to give you something extra special to honor and acknowledge some of what I have learn during the first 50-years and some of what I am leaning into moving into this next chapter.
So I’ve written some reflections on a half-century of life.
These are just a few of the most important lessons I’ve learned, deep thoughts I’ve pondered and some of the life knots I’m still untangling.
I hope you enjoy it and perhaps find something of value to help you on your journey of awakening into abundance!
On Being a Father:
I have taken this role as an honor, a privilege and a sacred responsibility. And, there have been times when I have not lived up to that responsibility.
Coming face to face with my shortcomings is one of the most powerful lessons of fatherhood. Also learning to forgive myself for the times I have not shown up as fully as would have liked.
Ultimately, though, the biggest lesson I am learning is acceptance and trust. Even the times when I didn’t do my best, I have learned to trust that I actually DID do the best that I could, in that moment.
I’ve learned to trust that, as long as I continue to strive to do my best, everything is right and good. I choose to trust that the moments when it looks like I let my daughter down were actually the moments when she needed to learn something important about herself… and I needed to learn something about myself!
Adoption is one of those defining moments in a person’s life. Taken from your mother at the moment of birth, the moment when you need that nurturing connection more than anything else, and placed in a plastic box… waiting… waiting… for what? Salvation? Connection? Love? Or just to be held and to feel safe and wanted?
I’ve had people shake their heads and look at me funny when I tell them that some part of me remembers the experience… that some part of me remembers what it was like to know, even within the womb, that I would be given away.
No matter. I know what I know. And I know that experience is encoded inside of my body. The memory lives within me and percolates up into my consciousness in bits and pieces.
Adoption defined me for many years… too many I now believe. It became my identity. Even more than being an Edward or a Man or a Human Being… I took on the identity of a wounded and unwanted Adoptee. That identity felt true and real and comfortable and even safe.
Breaking its spell has taken almost 50-years. And while the ripples from that moment will continue to move through me they no longer have the same power to paralyze me.
Coming back (or forward) to the word God has been quite a journey. Not the word OF God. Just the word itself.
Growing up in a secular Jewish home I experienced the desacralizing of God. To experience the word used in an environment with little to no real Sacredness evoked a sense of inauthenticity and disconnection.
For the first 10-years of my conscious journey of awakening I refused to use the word God. Instead I reached for Source/Spirit/the Tao/Life/the Universe/Great Spirit/Great Mystery… These words worked in various contexts. But not God.
It was only after reading Conversations With God that I began to soften and open to the possibility that the word God has not been completely and hopelessly drained of sacred meaning.
Now, as find peace within myself around using the word God for the infinite creative force that animates all that is, I feel a greater sense of connection with the truth of God. The inner conflict I felt with the word was reflective of a deeper inner conflict around the concept of and connection to God itself.
Reconciling the conflict around the word God has opened the way to a deeper, more intimate relationship with the Essence of God.
An astrologer once said I was a bit of a late bloomer (at least that’s what the stars said). Feels like there is some truth in that. I wasn’t ready to get married until my late 30s (after divorcing it seems I wasn’t QUITE ready even then!)
And while I’ve accomplished quite a lot in half a century, in many ways I feel like I’m really just hitting my stride.
Quite a few mystics have that Late Blooming trait. I’ve heard from 50, 60 and 70 year olds who are just now connecting with their real purpose and stepping up to share their gifts fully.
Perhaps it’s that we Mystics seek to have a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world and a stronger grounding into our essential nature before fully claiming and expressing our purpose here.
Along the way to our late blooming there can be quite a lot of challenge and struggle.
Malcolm Gladwell wrote a piece on Late Bloomers in the New Yorker. He said: ‘On the road to great achievement, the late bloomer will resemble a failure.”
My life has definitely “resembled failure” for long stretches! But as Mystics step more fully into consciousness, our encounters with what others perceive as “failure” become opportunities for growth and awakening. Within our failures we discover a deepening resonance with and connection to a more expansive experience of success. And we learn to remain rooted firmly in that deeper truth of “success” in spite of external experiences and circumstances of failure or success.
Ultimately, my many and sometimes spectacular “failures” have helped me recognize that success and failure are not dependent on what I do or achieve or accomplish.
My presence here in this world of form is my success. All else is experience and opportunity.
There is no end point. There is no arriving. There is only the journey. A journey of waking up. A journey of enlightening… ourselves and others… of shining more light into the world.
That journey of awakening and enlightening is why I am here.
What does it mean to be on a conscious awakening journey?
For me, it the meaning has shifted from a complex and sometimes convoluted unraveling of mysteries to a simple experience of daily living.
Awakening means looking at myself today and honestly assessing if I am more conscious, kind, loving, joyful and compassionate than I was yesterday.
If, in each new day, I can bring just a little more consciousness, clarity, kindness, and compassion to the world, to the people I love, the people I serve and meet and to myself, then I call that a good day on the path of Awakening.
And on the days when I don’t feel like I’m being kinder… on the days when the last thing I want to be is compassionate and loving and joyful… on those days I do the best I can to accept that experience.
Sometimes it is those “difficult” days that lead to the biggest steps forward on the awakening journey. For if I can still bring some small glimmer of compassion for myself, if I can manage to share some little bit of kindness with the people around me and if I can squeeze out some small sliver of joy in the experience of struggle, then I know this journey is getting me somewhere.
In the end, whether or not this journey leads me to some arbitrary state of Awakenedness or Enlightenment doesn’t really matter.
Sensitivity has been the quintessential blessing and curse for me.
Ask me now if I would give up my sensitivity and you’d get a resounding ‘NO.”
But 10-years ago I very well might have made a deal with you, or with the devil, to turn down my sensitivity.
It’s taken pretty much my entire 50-years to learn how to thrive in this over stimulating world as a super sensitive being.
First I needed to reconnect with my innate sensitivity after learning how to turn it off in order to survive the emotional and energetic chaos in my early years.
Then I need to learn how to modulate that sensitivity so that I could use it for good but not feel constantly overwhelmed.
I’ve often felt like Obi Wan Kenobi when the Death Stars wipes out the planet Alderaan. Perhaps that’s being a tad melodramatic, but it’s often how I have felt, especially when “bad” things have happened to loved ones or major catastrophes happened on the Earth.
The sense that it is all happening within me is real and palpable. When something really big hits it’s like having the rug pulled out from under me, the wind knocked out of me and the wool pulled over my eyes all at the same time. Hasn’t been fun.
But this sensitivity has also allowed me to be a channel for deep healing in others, to see more deeply into the mysteries of the Universe, to feel more acutely the awesome beauty of the world and to know more fully the joys and suffering of life here on Earth.
This sensitivity is a part of me and I feel deeply blessed to have been given this “curse.”
At times on this journey I’ve been a bit of a healing addict.
For many years, my healing distracted me from fully engaging in the world. The healing certainly served me, taking me deep into the darkest reaches of my consciousness and perhaps at times dipping into the darkness of the collective unconscious. And that has certainly helped me help others.
But I’ve come to question the underlying assumption of healing: Namely the assumption that there is anything to be healed.
The thought that we need healing implies that there is something wrong, something broken. Is there?
It is so easy to get caught up in the ideas of what is right in this physical world. And I certainly understand the desire to “fix” things when you’re in pain or suffering.
The questions I’ve begun exploring are: What if there is nothing to heal? What if there is nothing wrong? What if you are not broken and have nothing to fix?
What if we began any healing process with the underlying assumption that all is well, all is perfect and all is as it should be in this, and every, moment?”
Then, from there, the healing process can open the door to even more of the goodness and perfection of the Divine. There is no on/off switch. Broken/fixed. Sick/Healed.
There is only goodness and perfection… and more of that!
There have been many times when I thought I had the money thing “handled” and then it turned out that I didn’t.
Even now, with the money thing mostly “handled” I continue to uncover dark corners of doubt and questioning. I continue to dive deeper into the meaning of true abundance… abundance that is truly aligned with this awakening journey.
It’s interesting that guidance has led me to this Abundant Mystic work. They say that you teach that which you most need to learn. Much of this half century has been learning and growing from my often tumultuous relationship with money and my always deep desire to awaken.
Bridging that desire and the struggle for more consistent expressions of abundance has been my work and my blessing. And I feel truly grateful to be able to share some of what I’ve learned from this particular part of my journey with you as a member of the Abundant Mystic Tribe.
They say “Time heals all wounds.” I’m not sure that is literally true. Although if you consider death to be the ultimate healer of all wounds then, yes, it’s absolutely true!
What time has taught me is that all things pass.
When I look back on my life, on the good times and the times of struggle, I now see that they all have passed. The moments when I felt absolutely helpless and hopeless have come. And they have gone. The moments when I have experienced absolute bliss and ecstasy have come. And they, too, have gone.
Time is the ultimate arbiter, the ultimate judge and jury. But it is also the ultimate comforter. Time softens the edges of our highs and soothes the aches of our lows.
I give thanks to time for its softening, soothing and always constant, consistent impact on my life.
And as I look down on the far side of this mountain of life I take comfort in knowing that I have become perhaps a little better at savoring the infinite pause that is present in each moment.
They say there’s no place like home and home is where the heart is. Right? Who the heck are THEY anyway?
Obviously THEY haven’t been on a 50-year journey to find their way home… and to find their own heart.
For most of this 50 years of living on Earth home has felt somewhere else. It seemed out there, waiting for me to find it… or to find me.
I’ve rarely felt “at home” even in the most beautiful houses! The times when I have felt at home have been far out in the woods or the mountains or sitting by the ocean.
If home really is where the heart is, then where was my heart all those years, all those times I felt distinctly NOT at home? Was my heart hanging out in the mountains waiting for me to come and say hello and feel at home?
No. My heart was here. Inside me. Where it’s supposed to be. It was just surrounded by such massive walls and barriers that I couldn’t even get to it… let alone anyone else.
In nature my heart felt safe enough that those walls could come down and I could actually connect to it and feel at home.
I have found safety in not belonging. When you don’t belong you can stay separate, detached and removed from the action. It’s like visiting a foreign country on vacation: You show up and interact with the people around you. You may make some acquaintances. But you’re only there for a week or two, so you keep your distance. Then, when it’s time to go, it’s an easy parting.
Belonging requires commitment: A commitment to a place or a person or even an idea.
Belonging takes risk: Risk that can scare you half (or even three quarters) to death. But I’ve discovered that it’s a risk worth taking.
For when you take that risk and make that commitment to belong, those walls around your heart start coming down. As they do you realize you have always been home.
Well there you go. A few thoughts and reflections on the first half century. Hopefully you found something of value to help you!
Many blessings to you on your journey of awakening… wherever you may be on that path!